Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: Child of a Hidden Sea

Child of a Hidden Sea by A. M. Dellamonica
Hidden Sea Tales #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: June 24th, 2014
Source: Library
Date Read: 7/30/14 to 8/16/14
336 Pages

One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles.

The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard.

Sophie doesn't know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered… her world, where everyone seems to know who she is, and where she is forbidden to stay.

But Sophie is stubborn, and smart, and refuses to be cast adrift by people who don't know her and yet wish her gone. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world . . . or is doomed to exile.

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To be honest, I'm kind of a little disappointed in Child of a Hidden Sea. When I first saw it, I was super excited because the cover screamed PIRATES, ANOTHER WORLD, ASSASSIN'S CREED BLACK FLAG (yay to my video game obsessions), but I wasn't prepared for all the politics that was thrown at me.


Most of the novel involves our main character, Sophie Hansa, getting caught up in an inheritance problem with her half sister after her aunt has been murdered brutally by magically transformed monsters, that used to be human. Oh, and did I mention that Sophie's the only one from San Francisco, while the rest of her family is from this new, maybe parallel world, called Stormwrack? She was pretty much CAST ASIDE by her birth mother, and was then later adopted.

BUT NOT ONLY do we have problems with her inheritance, there's also the matter of finding the heart of the Temperance, which is some sort of huge military ship, I think? And the reason why her aunt Gale was murdered in the first place, was because she held the magic that let her know where the heart was, while everyone else magically believes that it's just a legend. Yup, so the culprits are now targeting Sophie, and are determined to find any way to get her to give them the heart.

And as vague as that last paragraph sounds, I can't tell you anything else, just because I'm so confused on what happened and why. I'm not sure if it was just the whole political thing throwing me off, or that I needed more information than was given. But basically, I was only able to understand 60% of the novel. There are just a number of questions that I really need answered! Such as:

  • The whole magic system involved the use of someone's true name, and since the culprits had Sophie's full name in possession, why didn't they just use that to control her? Why go through so much trouble with everything?
  • So confused at what the heck the Temperance actually does. I don't even know how to go about questioning this. All I know is that it's a big ship that's good at destroying other ships, I think?
  • GAH


But other than that, I did like the fact that Sophie brought all of her technological gear to study up on the sea life and different species on Stormwrack, after being contacted by her half sister to come back, of course. And not only that, but she brought her queer adopted brother as well. Both of them are literally the smartest people I've ever read about, well ok, maybe just her brother Bram, who learned a language in around a week's time (because MAGIC let Sophie learn the language). BUT THEN, both of them didn't even focus on the COOL THINGS about such a world. Nope. It's all about geography, marine life, and land masses, and "How is this new world connected to Earth? I see some Italian influences, blah blah". I think that's cool and all for the first couple of chapters, but then wouldn't you want to know more about the magic?

Maybe I should've concentrated more, but I don't think I could've. I think Child of a Hidden Sea would've been perfect for someone more knowledgeable in the realm of politics, but that's not me. And in the end, I think that's what caused my inability to enjoy the novel, which is why this is 3 stars rather than 2.
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